When it comes to elected officials on the City Council, Councilmember Noriega is the dean of the delegation. She also happens to have the most experience. First elected in the middle of 2007, Noriega has served the community well in her six and a half years of service on the City Council. This November, five candidates, four we have deemed worthwhile, will be running to replace her.
This board did not reach a majority conclusion in this race, though we have unanimously eliminated one candidate from consideration: Roy Morales. Mr Morales is a perennial candidate, who has run for too many offices to count. The only office he ever successfully won, on the Harris County Board of Education, was done so because of the lack of opposition–he was unopposed. However, instead of spending even a moment’s notice on educational concerns, Mr Morales simply continued to run for other offices. Other than towing the line of the Republican Party, Mr Morales offers no unique leadership, plans or opinions reflecting the needs of our City. Accordingly, this board strongly recommends against casting a vote for him.
Accordingly, Texpatriate will not endorse in At-large position #3, but three members of this board have selected their respective endorsements. Our reasoning is listed below the jump.
After the 2007 elections, progressives controlled all five of the at-large positions on the City Council. Today, that number stands at three, two or even one (depending on the loyalty of Councilmembers Burks and Bradford, respectively). With the departure of Councilmember Noriega, the City Council stands the lose the last dependable ally of Mayor Parker on the at-large portion of the City Council. Therefore, it is an absolutely indispensable need for the voters of this City to send a true progressive to City Hall.
Jenifer Pool is that true progressive that Houston needs. She has long been a zealous supporter of the Mayor, since the two served together on the Houston LGBT Caucus. Pool, if elected, would be the first transgendered individual to hold major office in the United States. The distinction, while certainly not a substitute for her impeccable qualifications, would be a remarkable milestone for Houston.
On important issues that this City will face over the next two years, such as LGBT Rights, Infrastructure or Density, Ms Pool has bravely lead on the issue. While others have remained willfully silent on the matter, Ms Pool has lead the way for greater debates on these issues. In a recent campaign video, Ms Pool even discussed the imperative need to improve sidewalk conditions in Houston, an issue other aren’t talking about.
Ms Pool has been supported by a plethora of progressive activist groups, such as the Houston LGBT Caucus and Democracy for Houston. In the spirit of supporting continued progressive representation on the City Council, Jenifer Pool is my endorsement.
–by Olivia Arena
I have analyzed the four major candidates in this election at length, and I have been impressed by all of them.
First and foremost, I believe that Michael Kubosh is the frontrunner in this campaign, and should be discussed accordingly. I was fortunate enough to have a long talk with Mr Kubosh himself in person back last Spring, where we talked about the many issues that will have arisen in this City and will continue to affect it over the coming years. The issues Mr Kubosh and I talked about (red-light cameras, the homeless feeding ordinance, recycling) were issues that I largely agree with him on. Mr Kubosh has promised that, although he is a Republican, he will approach each and every issue from a non-partisan point of view and will work towards consensus building.
That being said, Mr Kubosh is still a Republican with some political positions that I simply cannot support. These are most evident in continuing fights over the city’s budgets, looming problems with employee pensions and an ambivalence on issues of LGBT equality. To those whom do not find these issues so important, I invite you to explore Mr Kubosh’s candidacy. I, however, will be unable to support him in November.
The remaining three candidates (Rogene Calvert, Roland Chavez and Jenifer Pool) all have been superb candidates. The differences between these candidates on the issues are amazingly insignificant. Accordingly, my bigger endorsement is simply any one of the three, rather than any specific candidate.
Ms Calvert has been a fastidious presence in local politics for many years. Prior to her current work, she had been the adviser of the Mayor’s Youth Council, an institution the members of this board served upon for a combined 11 years. She has worked diligently for the support of a diverse selection of liberal interest groups, including the Houston Stonewall Young Democrats and the Houston Black-American Democrats. Similarly, Ms Pool has been a great candidate thus far who has reached out to a similar array of liberal institutions. Ms Pool, a business owner, has certainly set herself apart as the candidate of ultra-liberal interest groups, as has been noted in the endorsement above.
However, I believe that Mr Chavez will be the best positioned to take the reigns at City Hall next year, and it is he whom I will be voting for. Mr Chavez is a representative of two historically underrepresented constituencies at City Hall: Hispanics and the firefighters. A former union leader for the firefighters, however, Mr Chavez is not abrasive or cantankerous, like some of his successors, when it comes to an antagonistic attitude towards the incumbent Mayor.
The next few years will be sure to include some hard choices at City Hall on the pension issue, including firefighter’s pensions. I believe that the firefighter’s need a strong, yet rationale, voice on the City Council, not only to represent them, but to represent the interests of all of Houston. Accordingly, I endorse Roland Chavez for Houston City Council At-large position #3.
–Noah M. Horwitz
Voltaire once said that “common sense is not so common.” That quote cannot be applied more accurately than in politics. In this age of perpetual campaigning and special interests, the effect upon common citizens can often be overlooked by the City Council. Perhaps the most obvious example of this phenomenon occurred a few years ago, when the City Council debated the use of red-light cameras.
The cameras, which unconstitutionally violated a respondent’s right against self-incrimination by only photographing the vehicle –and not the perpetrator– before demanding a plea, were voted down by public referendum in 2010. Rather than gracefully admitting defeat, the City Council ignored the will of the people and tried at every opportunity, and every loophole, to reinstate and continue the red-light cameras.
Similarly, last year the City Council ignored the tremendous consensus of Houstonians to pass a bill criminalizing sharing food with homeless people. The micromanaging regulations, perhaps more familiar with those residing in so-called “nanny states,” did not and do not belong Houston.
Throughout both of these occurrences, there was one man who stood against the Government to preserve common sense: Michael Kubosh. Mr Kubosh seeks to come to solutions based on consensus, rather than special interests. Further, despite false calls from others, Mr Kubosh does not have an “ax to grind,” so to speak, against any other officeholder. Rather, he simply wants to continue his fight for not-so-common common sense and consensus-based solutions.
While three of the other candidates would certainly be good additions to the City Council, they have been somewhat ambivalent on these aforementioned issues.
Accordingly, I endorse Michael Kubosh for the Houston City Council At-large position #3.
–Andrew Scott Romo (joined by George Bailey)
The Texpatriate Editorial Board is comprised of Olivia Arena of Austin, George Bailey & Noah M. Horwitz of Boston and Andrew Scott Romo of New Orleans.